Two individuals from the Florida Department of Transportation attended the Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting last week to discuss the improvements being made to State Road 78, which will begin the summer of 2013.
Ken Muzyk said they are going to widen S.R. 78 (Pine Island Road) from two lanes to four lanes just west of Burnt Store Road to Chiquita Boulevard. He said there will be two traffic lanes in each direction.
The project, Muzyk said, will include a traffic replacement signal at Burnt Store Road, which will be the only light with the expansion.
There will be eight full median openings and two directional median openings when the project is finished on Pine Island Road.
He said there will always be one lane in each direction open during construction.
The construction will be done in phases. The entire south side of the road will be the first phase, which will be followed by a shift in traffic on the new side of the road that was built, followed by a split in the traffic while the middle is being finished.
There will also be two retention ponds - one located west of Burnt Store Road and the other on the north side of Pine Island Road between Southwest 28th Avenue and Southwest 26th Avenue south of Ceitus Parkway. Muzyk said the first pond will outfall into the canal and the second pond will drain into the tidal area.
The ponds will have the capacity to hold a 25-year storm, or 8-9 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period.
There will be landscaping around the retention ponds, which received a lot of comment from those who attended the meeting.
Kevin Ingle said the landscaping that will be planted is going to be a lot of low maintenance vegetation. He said landscaping was never a big part of the project because of the difficulty to get it funded.
The crowd asked the Florida Department of Transportation if groups of individuals could donate trees for the project, or have the Garden Club get involved.
Ingle said it is allowed if the individual or group signs a maintenance contract.
Ingle said the lowest contractor bid will win the job at the end of April and construction will begin in June or July of 2013. He said it takes the contractors three months to get all of the details in order before they can start construction.
Ingle said the construction will take about a year to complete.
The Greater Pine Island Water Association has also been a part of the project planning stages for the past four years. William Thatcher, GPIWA general manager, said moving the waterlines a mile and a half to the south will cost $1.1 million.
The civic association members also brought up the discussion of a possible Wal-Mart being built off of Pine Island Road. The proposed area for the Wal-Mart, Muzyk said, is around Saddlewood. If the Wal-Mart is built, a traffic study would then be done to see if the traffic warrants a full signal.
The next Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting will be held Jan. 3 at the Elks Lodge. A report on the golf issue will be provided.